With its breathtaking scenery and unique Maori culture, New Zealand is often featured on the ‘must-do’ list for international travellers – a plus for increasing conference delegates.
This small country packs in stunning fjords, pristine beaches, majestic mountain ranges, glaciers, green valleys, geothermal hot pools and rolling vineyards. With its Commonwealth roots to the United Kingdom and a strong Asia-Pacific identity, its sophisticated cities offer multi-cultural and multi-faceted appeal within an infrastructure strong on safety and service.
New Zealand’s location pitches it as a long haul destination for most visitors; however, accessibility is constantly increasing, with flight services from more than 20 international carriers globally. Any disadvantages of distance are swiftly made up with proximity on the ground. It is a mere 90-minute flight from cosmopolitan Auckland’s beach, and outdoor experience to the snow-capped mountains and adventure activities on offer in Queenstown.
Compact cities make for truly walkable experiences, removing the need for transfers. Testament to the catchphrase ‘Naturally Beyond Convention’, easy access to New Zealand’s natural wonders help make a successful conference programme even more memorable. Scenery aside, New Zealand means business. Tourism New Zealand’s new strategy targets sustainable, high-value visitors. Recent investment has seen the Business Events team significantly increase focus on the sector, with annual conference visitor numbers up 13.9 per cent in 2013 in line with this new direction.
New Zealand is known for its culture of ingenuity – a pioneering attitude demonstrated in its innovation, world-leading research, education and creativity. The Business Events team is focusing on key industries where New Zealand excels, strategically bidding for conferences in the agribusiness, health sciences, earth sciences, marine, aviation, high value foods and tourism sectors.
A new Conference Advocates Programme is currently being developed to further build on links with local universities and to establish potential conference champions.
And the future is bright. New Zealand currently caters well for conventions of up to 2,000 delegates, with an array of purpose-built centres, conference hotels and unique venues on offer. New venues set to open in 2017/18 will provide opportunities to host much larger international gatherings. Key developments include the New Zealand International Convention Centre in Auckland, and further convention centres in Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.